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Alexander Girard Textiles

The director of design for the textiles department at Herman Miller, Inc., from 1952 to 1973, mid-century modern visionary Alexander Girard introduced bright, bouncy colors to upholstery and drapery fabrics, created jaunty graphics for marketing and advertising materials and devised motifs for everything from textiles to ceramics based on his true love: folk art from cultures around the globe.

The son of an American mother and an Italian father, Girard (known as Sandro to his friends) was born in New York City in 1907 but raised in Florence. He came from a creative family — his father was a master woodworker — and Girard began drawing and making his own playthings as a youngster. He had a fascination for nativity crèche tableaux, an enthusiasm that likely was the germ for his later interest in folk art. He went on to earn degrees in architecture at schools in both Rome and London before returning to New York in the 1930s and working in interior design.

By the 1940s, he and his wife, Susan, had moved to Detroit, where Girard was head of design for Detrola, a firm specializing in tabletop radios. The elegant bentwood housings that he developed for the devices won him acclaim, but, more importantly, at Detrola he met Charles Eames. The two became lifelong friends, and it was Eames who drew Girard toward Herman Miller, which had no dedicated textile department until Girard arrived, and most of its furniture was upholstered in mundane, “safe” hues. Girard changed all that, introducing fabrics in vivid shades of red, orange, yellow and blue. His early designs incorporated geometric motifs — stripes, circles, square, triangles and such. But toward the end of the 1950s he began to introduce folk art themes into his designs.

Girard did not collect important or expensive folk pieces. Rather he was drawn to simple objects such as handmade toys, figurines and models of animals, buildings and plants. The fabrics that emerged had whimsical, lighthearted motifs depicting, for example, angels, children, birds and flowers. Toward the end of his term with Herman Miller, in an effort to achieve what he termed “aesthetic functionalism,” Girard produced a group of what he called “Environmental Enrichment” pieces — silk-screened cotton panels emblazoned with various graphic designs, from bold geometric patterns to folk art themes. They were meant to divide spaces in offices or the home in lieu of walls while simultaneously functioning as art. Today, panels of vintage Girard upholstery textiles have become premium collectibles. The designer's furniture is less well known, primarily because most of it was created for private commissions.

Girard’s most lasting contribution may be his folk art collection. He and Susan had begun gathering pieces shortly after their marriage, in 1936. By the 1970s, they had amassed the world’s largest collection of cross-cultural folk art, composed of more than 100,000 pieces from around the world. The Girards donated their holdings to the Museum of International Folk Art, in Santa Fe (where they had moved in the ’60s), quintupling the institution’s collection, and a new wing — named for the Girards — had to be built to hold it.

Find a striking range of vintage Alexander Girard seating, tables, textiles and other furnishings on 1stDibs.

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Creator: Alexander Girard
Maharam Pillow, Double Triangles by Alexander Girard
By Alexander Girard, Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Double Triangles by Alexander Girard 001 Black/White Designed by Alexander Girard in 1952 during his tenure as founding director of the Herman Miller Textile Divisio...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Cotton, Polyester

Maharam Pillow, Names by Alexander Girard
By Maharam, Alexander Girard
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Names by Alexander Girard 001 Crimson on White In his design work, Alexander Girard repeatedly explored an interest in the characters and symbols that comprise langu...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Cotton, Polyester

Maharam Pillow, Quatrefoil by Alexander Girard
By Maharam, Alexander Girard
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Quatrefoil by Alexander Girard 001 Silver Alexander Girard drew inspiration from his world travels, as well as from his fascination with traditional folk art. Quatre...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Cotton, Nylon

Maharam Pillow, Checker Split by Alexander Girard
By Maharam, Alexander Girard
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Checker Split by Alexander Girard 001 Black/White Checker Split exemplifies Alexander Girard’s lifelong exploration of geometric motifs. Designed for the Herman Mill...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Cotton, Polyester

Maharam Pillow, Lanalux by Alexander Girard, 1970
By Maharam, Alexander Girard
Located in New York, NY
Maharam pillow Lanalux by Alexander Girard, 1970 002 Umber Exploring texture, fiber variation, and color, Lanalux is a timeless and versatile textile that was originally designed b...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Wool

Maharam Pillow, Palio by Alexander Girard
By Maharam, Alexander Girard
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Palio by Alexander Girard 002 Sky Palio by Alexander Girard, 1964 draws its motifs, colors and name from the famous bareback horse race held semi-annually in Siena, I...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Cotton, Nylon

Related Items
Maharam Pillow, Quatrefoil by Alexander Girard
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Maharam Pillow, Names by Alexander Girard
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Maharam Pillow, Palio by Alexander Girard
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Maharam Pillow, Checker Split by Alexander Girard
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Maharam Pillow, Lanalux by Alexander Girard, 1970
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Maharam pillow Lanalux by Alexander Girard, 1970 002 Umber Exploring texture, fiber variation, and color, Lanalux is a timeless and versatile textile that was originally designed b...
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Maharam Pillow, Layers Park Double by Hella Jongerius
By Maharam, Hella Jongerius
Located in New York, NY
Maharam pillow Layers Park Double by Hella Jongerius 002 Sienna/Ginger/Rose Layers Park Double combines Hella Jongerius' fascination with the manipulation of traditional manufac...
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Maharam Pillow Tinge
By Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Tinge 001 Cheer Guided by the Maharam Design Studio’s material expertise, Tinge celebrates the inherent beauty of leather returned to a more natural state. Sourc...
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21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

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Maharam Pillow Tinge
H 17 in. W 17 in. D 5 in.
Maharam Pillow, Pasture
By Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Pasture 001 Nuzzle Founded in 1902, Maharam offers a comprehensive collection of textiles for commercial and residential interiors. Maharam pillows feature celebr...
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21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Wool

Maharam Pillow, Pasture
H 17 in. W 17 in. D 5 in.
Maharam Pillow, Slumber
By Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam pillow Slumber 005 parfait Slumber combines two types of chenille yarn – one solid rayon, one marled linen – to create a non-directional, speckled effect. A dense constr...
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21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Cotton, Linen, Polyester

Maharam Pillow, Slumber
H 17 in. W 17 in. D 5 in.
Maharam Pillow, Tress
By Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Tress 001 Lunation Founded in 1902, Maharam offers a comprehensive collection of textiles for commercial and residential interiors. Maharam pillows feature celeb...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Cotton, Linen

Maharam Pillow, Tress
H 17 in. W 17 in. D 5 in.
Maharam Pillow, Loam
By Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Loam 001 Terracotta Guided by the Maharam Design Studio’s material expertise, Loam celebrates the inherent beauty of leather returned to a more natural state. Source...
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21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

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Leather

  • Maharam Pillow, Loam
  • Maharam Pillow, Loam
  • Maharam Pillow, Loam
  • Maharam Pillow, Loam
H 17 in. W 17 in. D 5 in.
Maharam Pillow, Tinge
By Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam pillow Tinge 006 Lavish Guided by the Maharam Design Studio’s material expertise, Tinge celebrates the inherent beauty of leather returned to a more natural state. Sourc...
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Leather

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H 17 in. W 17 in. D 5 in.
Previously Available Items
Maharam Pillow, Checker by Alexander Girard
By Alexander Girard, Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Checker by Alexander Girard 008 Black/White Designed by Alexander Girard for the Herman Miller textile division in 1965, checker is a simple checkerboard design offer...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Polyester, Cotton

Maharam Pillow, Millerstripe by Alexander Girard
By Alexander Girard, Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Millerstripe by Alexander Girard 001 Multicolored Girard drew inspiration from his travels to Mexico and India, as well as from his fascination with traditional folk...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Wool, Nylon

Maharam Pillow, Toostripe by Alexander Girard
By Alexander Girard, Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Toostripe by Alexander Girard 001 Orange Alexander Girard drew inspiration from his travels to Mexico and India, as well as from his fascination with tradition fold a...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Nylon, Wool

Maharam Pillow, Arabesque by Alexander Girard
By Alexander Girard, Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Arabesque by Alexander Girard 002 Pink and Orange Arabesque, designed by Alexander Girard in 1954, is a graphic pattern composed of ribbons of small glyphic, geometr...
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21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Wool, Nylon, Cotton

International Love Heart Textile by Alexander Girard for Herman Miller, 1967
By Alexander Girard
Located in Atlanta, GA
Rare, authentic, original "International Heart" unframed textile by Alexander Girard for Herman Miller, c. 1967. Say "I love you" in nineteen different languages! Girard's "Inter...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Cotton

Alexander Girard Rare "Grid" Fabric
By Herman Miller, Alexander Girard
Located in Highland, IN
An exceptional and rare opportunity, these 27 yards of pristine, vintage unused linen fabric in Girard's 1958 "Grid" design by Herman Miller are 47" wide curtain bolt ...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Linen

  • Alexander Girard Rare "Grid" Fabric
  • Alexander Girard Rare "Grid" Fabric
  • Alexander Girard Rare "Grid" Fabric
  • Alexander Girard Rare "Grid" Fabric
H .0125 in. W 42 in. D 972 in.
International Heart by Alexander Girard, Framed
By Alexander Girard
Located in Atlanta, GA
Designed in 1967 by Alexander Girard for Herman Miller, the heart contains the word "love" in 19 languages. Piece was cut from bolt of the original printer's proof. Textile is a heav...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Cotton, Wood

“Feathers” Alexander Girard fabric by Herman Miller
By Alexander Girard
Located in Highland, IN
A rare find, over 4 yards of Girard fabric from 1961 that have never been used and are in mint condition. The “Feathers” pattern is overlapping shapes in green, plum, and navy on a g...
Category

1960s American Vintage Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Cotton

Alexander Girard textiles for sale on 1stDibs

Alexander Girard textiles are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are often made of fabric and designed with extraordinary care. In our collection of Alexander Girard textiles there are many options to choose from, although gray editions of this piece are particularly popular. 0 vintage editions of these items are in stock, while there are 8 modern editions to choose from as well. Many of Alexander Girard's original textiles were created in the Modern style in the United States during the 21st century and Contemporary. If you are looking for additional options, many customers also consider textiles by Michele Varian, Studio Herron and Venfield. The prices for Alexander Girard textiles can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. The price for these items starts at $150 and tops out at $225, while pieces like these can sell for $167 on average.

Recent Sales

Maharam Pillow, Checker by Alexander Girard
By Alexander Girard, Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Checker by Alexander Girard 008 Black/White Designed by Alexander Girard for the Herman Miller textile division in 1965, checker is a simple checkerboard design offer...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Polyester, Cotton

Maharam Pillow, Millerstripe by Alexander Girard
By Alexander Girard, Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Millerstripe by Alexander Girard 001 Multicolored Girard drew inspiration from his travels to Mexico and India, as well as from his fascination with traditional folk...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Wool, Nylon

Maharam Pillow, Toostripe by Alexander Girard
By Alexander Girard, Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Toostripe by Alexander Girard 001 Orange Alexander Girard drew inspiration from his travels to Mexico and India, as well as from his fascination with tradition fold a...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Nylon, Wool

Maharam Pillow, Arabesque by Alexander Girard
By Alexander Girard, Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Arabesque by Alexander Girard 002 Pink and Orange Arabesque, designed by Alexander Girard in 1954, is a graphic pattern composed of ribbons of small glyphic, geometr...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Wool, Nylon, Cotton

International Love Heart Textile by Alexander Girard for Herman Miller, 1967
By Alexander Girard
Located in Atlanta, GA
Rare, authentic, original "International Heart" unframed textile by Alexander Girard for Herman Miller, c. 1967. Say "I love you" in nineteen different languages! Girard's "Inter...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Cotton

Alexander Girard Rare "Grid" Fabric
By Herman Miller, Alexander Girard
Located in Highland, IN
An exceptional and rare opportunity, these 27 yards of pristine, vintage unused linen fabric in Girard's 1958 "Grid" design by Herman Miller are 47" wide curtain bolt ...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Linen

  • Alexander Girard Rare "Grid" Fabric
  • Alexander Girard Rare "Grid" Fabric
  • Alexander Girard Rare "Grid" Fabric
  • Alexander Girard Rare "Grid" Fabric
H .0125 in. W 42 in. D 972 in.
International Heart by Alexander Girard, Framed
By Alexander Girard
Located in Atlanta, GA
Designed in 1967 by Alexander Girard for Herman Miller, the heart contains the word "love" in 19 languages. Piece was cut from bolt of the original printer's proof. Textile is a heav...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Cotton, Wood

“Feathers” Alexander Girard fabric by Herman Miller
By Alexander Girard
Located in Highland, IN
A rare find, over 4 yards of Girard fabric from 1961 that have never been used and are in mint condition. The “Feathers” pattern is overlapping shapes in green, plum, and navy on a g...
Category

1960s American Vintage Alexander Girard Textiles

Materials

Cotton

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